I’ll never let you see
The way my broken heart is hurting me
I’ve got my pride and I know how to hide
All the sorrow and pain
I’ll do my crying in the rain

If I wait for cloudy skies
You won’t know the rain from the tears in my eyes
You’ll never know that I still love you
So though the heartaches remain
I’ll do my crying in the rain

The Eurofighter Typhoon against the same “admission criteria” as the 5th generation club, would produce a much higher compliance than JSF, for example, as the only missing part would be the VLO stealthiness.

So, if the F-35/JSF is not a 5th generation fighter, what is it then? Where does it belong?

That is a very important question and needs a definition before it can be answered properly. “A fighter is a combat aircraft whose aerodynamic characteristics, sensor suite and weapon capabilities are optimised to achieve the control of the air. Fighters actively look for and engage the opponent’s fighter force. Strike aircraft generally avoid engagements with other fighters”

The fighter generations concept obviously applies and is restricted to fighters. It cannot apply to bombers, strike and attack aircraft, even if sometimes these are inaccurately termed as fighters. Where does the good old A-4 Skyhawk or the Close Air Support A-10 belong in terms of fighter generations? Where does the F-117 fit? Certainly not in the fighter generation classes. The same is true also for the F-35/JSF.

So, the inclusion of a tactical strike and attack platform in the fighter generation concept is a mistake. Simply put, the JSF is not a fighter and the two classes are not comparable.

The process of designing a combat aircraft will inevitably result in a number of trade-offs. Any fighter is a compromise between aircraft manoeuvrability; high specific excess power; weapon effectiveness; high off bore sight; IR/RF missiles; gun; combat persistence; high fuel fraction; maximum firepower; aircraft systems/sensors; human ma¬chine interface; situational understanding; helmet mounted displays; threat warning; countermeasures; good cockpit visibility. Survivability can be achieved by means other than Low Observability.

For example thanks to layered information systems; mission definable preferences; automation of routine tasks; threat prioritisation; sensor fusion and inherent safety, you are able to avoid compromising the performance and flight characteristics of the aircraft and create a weapon system that does not suffer from the same inflexibility issues that the F-35 JSF appears to have.

During the first Desert Storm attack against Iraq on the 17th January 1991, only 10 stealth aircraft from a total of 658 non-stealth attack aircraft successfully hit targets in Iraq and Kuwait. That night there were no losses at all. So what is the lesson learnt? Clearly if you can hide an F-117, the primary stealth bomber of that time… you can also hide a B-52!

However, if any air force is going to choose just one platform, they have to make sure it is fit for purpose. The main considerations should be: forget the generation labels and instead consider requirements & capabilities

Overall, military capability must meet a nation’s needs. If you cannot have the F-22, you need something of similar air-to-air capability to support your attack aircraft at the same time. Survivability can be achieved by means other than stealthiness. A single platform designed only for strike missions is unlikely to satisfy all combat air power requirements.

Today the Typhoon is the only aircraft capable of evolving ahead of the threat and in step with maturing technology.

Eurofighter World Magazine (PDF)

Arlington Headstones in Creek Bed Catch Officials by Surprise

Fox News – By Jake Gibson & Steve Centanni

ARLINGTON, Va. — Several discarded headstones recently discovered in a creek bed near Arlington National Cemetery have left Department of Defense officials scrambling for answers.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell called the discovery “alarming and concerning.”

Pentagon officials as well as officials at the Arlington National Cemetery had no idea about the existence of the headstones until they were made aware by a Washington Post story.

Patrick Hallinan, the incoming superintendent of the hallowed cemetery, will be meeting with officials from the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday. The upcoming meeting will “hopefully provide more clarity to the situation regarding the headstones in the creek bank,” Kaitlin Horst, a spokeswoman for Arlington National Cemetery, told Fox News.

Arlington National Cemetery officials think the headstones were placed there to “prevent erosion on the creek bed,” after being replaced and discarded, Horst said.

“It’s important to the new management to take corrective action but also make sure removing the headstones doesn’t destabilize the environment in any way,” she said.

One of the headstones in question is inscribed with a cross with a circle around it, a style that was discontinued in the late 1980s, leading officials to believe some of these headstones may have been in that creek bed for several decades.

“This is not part of our current headstone disposal policy,” said Horst.

The discovery is another black eye for the nation’s most sacred veterans cemetery, which recently was revealed to have mishandled more than 200 graves.

Valley of Death: One Platoon’s Tour of Duty


“Restrepo,” a documentary directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, which will open on June 25 in Los Angeles and New York, is a 94-minute tutorial on life at the tip of that very sharp spear. Specifically, Mr. Junger, a veteran war correspondent and author of several books, including “The Perfect Storm,” and Mr. Hetherington, a longtime war photographer, spent 14 months, beginning in May 2007, with a platoon of United States soldiers in the Korangal Valley of Afghanistan.

“Restrepo” avoids the conventions of documentary film: there is no back story, no drive-bys with experts for context, no underlying ideology or obvious message. The viewer is dropped into war, with a hard jolt, and resides, along with 15 soldiers from Second Platoon of Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, in a remote and raw outpost called Restrepo, so named after one member of the platoon who is killed early in their rotation.

In practical terms the soldiers of Second Platoon hump up a mountain with lots of bullets and some shovels and dig in. During the day they make efforts at outreach, handing over food and sometimes cash to local people, many of whom return at night to shoot at them. “It is a weird sort of anti-paradise,” Mr. Junger said in a phone call from Houston, where he was on a book tour for “War,” his best seller based on the same reporting. “They were in the most extreme place in the valley, which was the most extreme place in Afghanistan. By 2007 a fifth of the fighting in Afghanistan took place there.”

The Korangal Valley, full of giant peaks and hidden enemies, has a bit of reputation inside the military.

“Everybody is like, ‘Oh, you’re going to the Korangal?,’ and they feel sad for you,” Capt. Dan Kearney says in the film. “The deadliest place on earth. The Korangal Valley.”

… The film will open on several military bases in July, including Fort Bragg, Fort Campbell and Fort Benning.

“In this country there is a blind devotion to supporting the troops, and that is a very honorable sentiment,” said Daniel Battsek, a native of Britain. “But I don’t think we really know what that means. This movie gives you a window into the journey that these men — our troops — took when we sent them there. It’s the first time I understood what that really means.”

“Restrepo,” however, never delves into the geopolitics that put those soldiers in that deadly valley in the first place.

“We weren’t burdened by the baggage of classic documentary filmmaking,” he said. “And that included letting people draw their own conclusions. There is no room to be apathetic. These are your tax dollars at work, but the soldiers we filmed didn’t spend much time talking about the war and neither did we.”

The only hard and fast conclusion drawn about the war comes in the form of an endnote, which states: “In late 2009, the U.S. military began withdrawing from the Korangal Valley. Nearly 50 American soldiers died fighting there.”

Mr. Junger said it was less an editorial than a cold fact of military life.

“Wars have always been fought over pieces of terrain that become obsolete,” he said. “Hamburger Hill, Dunkirk, Gettysburg — at the end of the day none of that terrain really mattered after it was done. But many men fought and died there just the same. It’s the story of war.”

Photos h/t:  ChamorroBible.org

Dolphins finds one missing underwater vehicle; Navy suspends search

The Virginian-Pilot – By Kate Wiltrout

Chalk one up for the mammals.

Navy dolphins found an underwater surveillance device that went astray during a military exercise last week in Thimble Shoals Channel, the Navy announced Monday.

The device, known as an unmanned underwater vehicle, or UUV, was one of four that lost contact with its operators.

The Navy uses the robotic devices to search for underwater explosives. Some commentators have predicted they’ll one day replace the specially trained dolphins that have had that duty for decades.

The 5-foot-long, 80-pound torpedo-shaped vehicles, which cost $250,000 each, are equipped with side-scanning sonar and camera equipment. They transmit data back to shore to be analyzed.

When the four went missing, the Navy launched a broad search, using other UUVs, teams of searchers on shore and spotters in the air. Four minehunting dolphins from San Diego here to participate in the same exercise, called Frontier Sentinel, also were put on the case.

In the end, mammals succeeded where computers failed. Navy divers retrieved the missing vehicle after a dolphin located it, said Lt. Cmdr. Susan Henson, a spokeswoman for the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.

The search for the other three vehicles has been called off, Henson said, but it’s still possible they could turn up. The vehicles should not be handled – if any are spotted, the finder should call (619) 921-6782.

Army Cuts the Velcro

Yahoo Buzz – by Mike Krumboltz

In a move that has the Web buzzing, the U.S. Army has decided to banish Velcro from uniform pants and bring back buttons.

Replacing the fastener on uniforms isn’t your traditional front-page news, but the shift has captured the attention of many. A buzzy article from USA Today explains that soldiers told their superiors that the Velcro’s stickiness was being affected by the sand of the Afghanistan desert. Pockets weren’t staying shut.

The Army surveyed 2,700 soliders, and 60% of them said they would prefer buttons for their cargo pockets (only 11% wanted to “stick” with Velcro). Authorities listened, and now it looks like the old-fashioned button will be making a return.

The USA Today goes on to mention that the move back to buttons will end up saving the Army nearly $1 per uniform. There is at least one other huge benefit: Unlike Velcro, buttons don’t make any noise. In times of conflict and danger, silence can be absolutely vital.

But don’t feel too bad for Velcro. It isn’t going away from the uniforms completely. It will still be on the sleeves, and under the soldier’s nameplates.

Like Post-it Notes and other “Why didn’t I think of that?” inventions, the hook and loop fastener has long captured the attention of Web searchers. Envious lookups for “velcro inventor” and “who invented velcro” are always popular in the Search box.

Here’s the scoop. According to Idea Finder, Velcro was the creation of Swiss inventor George de Mestral. Back in 1948, he took a walk in the woods. Upon returning to his home, he noticed that a lot of burrs had attached themselves to his clothes. Eager to understand why, de Mestral examined the burrs under a microscope and saw how the tiny hooks on the burrs meshed with the loops of the fabric. From that stroll, a famous invention was born.

It took de Mestral many years to bring his idea to the masses. But he stuck with it, and eventually his baby changed the way NASA makes space suits and old people wear sneakers. The stuff is everywhere. Just not on certain areas of Army uniforms.

General James F. Amos

Robert Gates taps James Amos as commandant


Defense Secretary Robert Gates has recommended that Gen. James Amos will be the next commandant of the Marine Corps, POLITICO has learned. Lt. Gen. Joseph Dunford has been recommended to be assistant commandant. President Obama has not yet nominated either individual, according to defense sources, but the recommendations were recently sent to the White House.

Amos, already the Corps’ No. 2 officer, would be the first aviator to lead the service. The selection of Amos is a huge upset since the choice was thought to be between two known infantry officers: Dunford, and Gen. James Mattis. Both men had long been considered front runners and brought to the job different reputations and backgrounds at a time when the Corps endeavors to re-establish its sea-service identity after more than eight years of fighting wars in largely landlocked regions.

Gates was expected to want a leader who would help focus that effort. But the deliberations over who would lead the Corps also included discussions on whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly as well as well as the future of the Corps’ favorite ground combat vehicle, the General Dynamics-made Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, say officials in and outside of the Pentagon.

Also under consideration for the Corps’ top job was Lt. Gen. John Allen, now the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. Defense News reported that Lt. Gen. Richard Natonski was under consideration but a source close to the process said he was not.

Amos will be seen as a strange choice for the Corps as it fights two land campaigns. One retired senior officer said Amos would probably make a good leader of the service even as he expressed reservations about his background as an aviator.

“He’ll do fine, he’ll have a good team surrounding him and he won’t go off the edge any which way or the other,” the retired officer told POLITICO.

But during a period of intense ground operations for the Corps, the retired officer wondered why the Obama White House would choose a Marine officer with no ground combat experience.

“The Marine Corps as an institution doesn’t owe anyone anything,” the retired officer said. “But should there be more consideration to a ground guy when you’re in the middle of a couple of ground wars? I think you might want to do that.”

But Mattis said he “could not be more pleased” that his “shipmate and friend” would lead the Corps in an e-mail to POLITICO.

“By all means quote me: Tamer Amos and Fighting Joe Dunford will be the best possible team,” said Mattis, using nicknames for the two officers…

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